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ARTICLE |

Staff Awareness of Hospital Charges

Fred S. White, MD; David E. Trachtenbarg, MD
JAMA. 1981;245(14):1409-1410. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03310390017005.
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To the Editor.—  Cost containment and the rising cost of medical care is a national issue. While physicians' fees are only a small percentage of health care spending, physicians order tests and services that account for more than one half of health care expenditures. Previous studies have concluded that few physicians know the correct prices of items they order, and their estimated costs are lower than actual charges.1-4 Because of this it has been alleged that physicians do not order tests in a financially responsible manner.A recent hospital staff survey pointed toward conclusions different from these frequently leveled charges. The study method was simple—asking staff members to estimate prices for frequently ordered services and tests at our hospital. Following this quiz, the estimates were collected, and correct answers were distributed. The same process was again repeated two months later. While the sample was small and confined to the

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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